Penicillin is a common ingredient used in medication at clinics and hospitals across New York. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to see patients with a serious allergy to penicillin. Allergic reactions caused by penicillin can have major health consequences, so it’s incumbent on medical professionals to confirm or rule out a penicillin allergy before prescribing it. Now, there are additional reasons to rule out a penicillin allergy.
A recent study of 300,000 individuals indicates that patients labeled with a penicillin allergy face a much higher risk for conditions like MRSA and C. difficile. The research shows that these patients are 70 percent more likely to get an MRSA infection and 30 percent more likely to face C. difficile.
This and previous studies show these increased risks are tied directly to the use of alternative antibiotics. These beta-lactam antibiotics are used by those with a penicillin allergy since they are unable to use traditional penicillin-based antibiotics. The study also confirms the need to correctly diagnose penicillin allergies due to the increased risk of C. difficile infections spreading. This study shows the risk of misdiagnosis isn’t just about patients with the allergy incorrectly being marked as not having it. Given the risk of alternative antibiotics, incorrectly marking patients as having the allergy could cause them to unnecessarily avoid penicillin antibiotics and increase their risk of MRSA and other infections.
Medical misdiagnosis is a form of malpractice. When a patient has an allergy that isn’t correctly reported, they face the risk of accidental exposure to something they will have a reaction to. Alternatively, those who are misdiagnosed to have a penicillin allergy face consequences if they needlessly use alternative antibiotic treatment. Any individual who is injured by misdiagnosis may have a claim for damages from the doctor or the hospital.